Lineman Chooses Links Over Football Field

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Mason Dacanay signed a letter of intent last week to play golf next season at Southwestern College where he will be coached by Bob Day.

A Payson High student athlete who made a name for himself as a starring two-way lineman on the Longhorn football team has accepted a scholarship to play collegiate golf.

Mason Dacanay, 18, signed a letter of intent July 16 at Chaparral Pines to next year attend Southwestern College in Phoenix where he will play for coach Bob Day, a former club pro who once starred at Central High School and Phoenix College.

Mason’s father, Dr. John Dacanay, credits Day for drawing his son to Southwestern, a conservative Baptist Bible College that graduated its first student in 1961.

“Give coach Day the credit, he convinced (Mason) that was the school (to attend),” said Dr. Dacanay.

Mason starred in football at Payson High the past two seasons and was being recruited in the sport by some colleges.

“I was talking to schools (about football), but then I asked coach Bret (Morse) if there were any places where I could go to play golf,” he said. “Coach got me set up and I eventually decided on Southwestern.”

He predicts the key for him to become a collegiate standout will be developing constancy, good mental traits and course management.

“I think I can do that,” he said.

Dacanay will report to Southwestern for classes Aug. 17 and play his first collegiate golf tournament Sept. 28 and 29 at the Southwestern Invitational in Phoenix.

During the course of the season, he will play in tournaments in California and Nevada, as well as around Arizona. The team’s home course is the nationally recognized Moon Valley Country Club.

At Southwestern, Dacanay will join other Eagle recruits Logan Marshall and Casey Morrell, who also recently signed letters of intent. Last season both played golf at junior colleges.

Dacanay will major in business.

At Payson High, Dacanay was active in DECA and in January was a second-place winner in marketing competition at the Central Region Career Development Conference.

Prep career

Dacanay played his final high school golf tournament in May at the Class 3A state championships in Show Low. There, he was a model of consistency, scoring an 82 and 80 to finish at 162 and take seventh overall.

As a junior, he was 29th at state.

His efforts last season led the Longhorns to a state second-place finish.

One of his best efforts his senior season occurred in March during a dual match vs. three-time defending state champion Snowflake on the Horns’ home course — Chaparral Pines east of Payson.

Dacanay and teammate Jeffrey Kelley both finished at 40 to tie for the team lead and finish second overall behind two-time individual defending state champion Kyle Jones of Snowflake.

As a junior, Dacanay shined at the Safford Invitational at Mt. Graham Golf Course winning both longest drive and closest-to-the-pin honors.

He won closest-to-the-pin accolades on the course’s par 3 eighth hole where his tee shot rolled to within 10 feet, 8 inches of an ace.

He also chalked up the longest drive, rocketing a blast of 310 yards.

“I’ve got a pretty good long game,” he said.

Both efforts propelled Dacanay to a sixth-place finish in the 75-player field.

In football, Dacanay was a standout lineman on the Longhorns’ 1998 state championship team.

In fact, his blocking and defensive play allowed the Longhorns to effectively control the line of scrimmage the entire 13-game season.

As a senior, Payson struggled to a 3-7 mark, but the 5-foot, 10-inch 290-pound Dacanay continued to be a force on the line of scrimmage winning first team All-East region honors and all-state honorable mention on two post-season teams.

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